Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 08:28 UK

'No agreement' on rural housing

Man building a wall
The PPS 14 planning policy outlaws new single rural dwellings

Cross-party agreement cannot be reached on the controversial ban on building houses in rural areas, Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has said.

His predecessor had outlined proposals including tighter restrictions in greenbelt areas and developing small clusters of affordable social housing.

Mr Wilson said the Executive had stalled on the issue.

"Primarily the SDLP and Sinn Féin feel that they want to have a far, far more relaxed policy," he said.

"A policy which to be quite frank would be far more relaxed than the policy which Lord Rooker had to bring an end to because it had led to 14,000 successful applications in two years."

The controversial PPS 14 planning policy, which outlaws new single rural dwellings, is one of a number of pressing issues not yet agreed upon by the Executive.

Last September, the PPS 14 planning policy was ruled unlawful as it was introduced by the Department of Regional Development which did not have the power to do so.

A High Court judge later ruled the law would not be overturned but it is due to be reviewed.

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